1968 OLDSMOBILE 442 USHERS IN 2nd-GENERATION
’68 was the first year that the 442 became an actual stand-alone model and not an option package for the Cutlass line, as did Pontiac with the GTO, although as always it was based on the Cutlass platform. This was also the first year of the 2nd-generation, with a streamlined new body, a semi-fastback roofline, and two gaping hood scoops. This was the first year for side marker lights and front shoulder belts, and the last year for side vent windows. The ’68 has a unique rear bumper with cutouts for the exhaust tips.
1968 Oldsmobile 442 2-door HARDTOP COUPE
1968 Oldsmobile 442 CONVERTIBLE
1968 Oldsmobile 442 INTERIORS
1968 Oldsmobile 442 ENGINES
1968 OLDSMOBILE 442 ENGINES
As always, the big news was under the hood. The base engine for the ’68 442 was a 400 V8 that used the same stroke as the 455 (4.25”), but reduced the bored to only 3.87”, creating a very undersquare engine. The predictable result of this was peak output at a much lower rpm. Where the 455 achieved peak torque at 3600rpm, the 400 peaked at 3,000rpm. With 3.42 gears, it would do zero-to-60 in about 7 seconds, and the quarter in 15 seconds at 92mph, with a top speed of 115mph. Manual transmission engines were rated at 350hp, and automatics at 325hp. The W30 package boosted power to 360hp and with the optional 4.33 gearing would do the quarter in 13.3 seconds at 103mph. The W30 came with a Ram Air setup that used flexible hoses to connect the chromed-topped twin-snorkel air cleaner to under-bumper air scoops. W30s were also very unique in their use of bright red plastic inner fenders flanking the engine. All ’68 442 engines were painted bronze-copper with red air cleaners.
1968 HURST OLDS
1968 was the year that Oldsmobile teamed up with Hurst Performance Research Corporation to create the Hurst/Olds. They’d been using Hurst’s famous 4-speed floor shifters for years. A total of 515 Hurst/Olds were built in ’68. They were based on the 442 but received number enhancements, both mechanically and in appearance. All were Peruvian Silver with large black stripes and white pinstriping, H/O badging inside and out, and real walnut wood dash inserts. Under the hood, two engine combos were offered. Both were 390hp 455s (painted red, contrary to Olds practice of painting their engines bronze) backed by a heavy duty Turbo 400 automatic tranmissions. If you ordered air conditioning, you got the W-46 engine with 3.08:1 gears, while non-AC cars got the W-45 with 3.91:1 gearing. Despite identical output claims, the W-45 got better heads and cam. Lots of things came standard on the Hurst/Olds that were optional on a 442, such as disk brakes, heavy duty cooling, the FE2 suspension package, and the W30s red fender liners. Inside they all came with bucket seats, a mini console and a Hurst Dual-Gate automatic shifter. Zero-to-60 times were in the 5.4 second-range, and they would do the quarter in 13.9 seconds at around 103mph.